VNA Nurse Blog: "Giving a Good Life"

By Judith Palma Home
VNA Health Group

VNA Nurse Blog: "Giving a Good Life"


Before I went into nursing, I was a hairdresser. I always liked making people feel good about themselves on the outside, but there was always something more I wanted. I could make the outside of a person look great, but realized I wanted to take care of the person themselves. For me, the jump from hairdressing to nursing made perfect sense to fulfill that need.


What launched me into home care nursing, started with a near-miss tragedy. My mother was in a horrific car accident and had eight hours of surgery on her face, jaw and arm. Being a nurse and living next door, I ended up moving in with my mom. To get the best care available for mom, I had a nurse come in and speak with my mother and myself about VNA Home Health Care just before she was discharged.


The VNA came into my mom’s home and provided nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Being a nurse myself, we can sometimes be a bit intimidating. However, this was not the case. The compassion and care that was shown by the VNA moved me. I was so impressed that I literally applied while they were taking care of my mother.


I think one of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a home care nurse is being a source of interaction for the elderly who are chronically lonely.  Some of my patients are in their 90s and when I arrive, their face lights up. I am the only interaction they will have that day. Loneliness among the elderly is becoming an important public health topic and it feels gratifying that just being in their home, speaking to someone who has been alone, brightens their day and helps their health.


It’s always been easy for me to go into someone’s house and talk to them. Having worked in mobile intensive care units and advanced life support settings, it has always been second nature to me. Even when there is a serious health complication or a person is at the worst time of their life and really need help, I have the training to take care of it.


Being an advocate for a person’s health has always been “my thing.” Treating someone in their own home and educating them in an environment where they are comfortable, makes that advocacy a lot easier.


Hospitals are scary for a lot of people because they often don’t know anyone and feel lost in the surroundings. At home people always have decreased anxiety and greater willingness to learn about the tools they need to manage their diseases. The same tools in a hospital setting can often be misunderstood or don’t resonate because they are distracted by feelings of panic and isolation. At home, we can talk about their health like we are family.


Being a home care nurse is what gets me out of bed in the morning and ensures I can sleep well at night. Being able to show people how to care for themselves in their own home, show the larger family how to care for each other, and keep them from going back to the hospital over and over again is a really satisfying feeling and why I love being a home care nurse.


Judith Palma, RN
VNA of Central Jersey



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